Brief 4: The Hygienic Home
Design or re-design a floor cleaning product that will make cleaning easier and more effective, enabling older people to maintain their independence for longer.
In this day and age more people are living longer, and their ability to undertake even simple tasks can become impaired by the aging process and the physical degeneration and medical conditions that it can entail.
Understandably, people want the option to remain independent in old age, remaining in their own homes rather than having to move in with a family member, going into sheltered accommodation or entering older people’s homes. There is also a practical economic benefit in enabling older people to retain their independence, as the cost of providing social care is set to rise in line with the increase in the senior population.
One of the key ways that people can be enabled to remain independent for longer is through having the right tools to effectively take care of themselves and their homes.
Keeping homes clean and hygienic can be challenging in older age – traditional floor cleaning appliances are often heavy and cumbersome, whilst newer, automated products are still very expensive and are only capable of removing surface litter.
How should you approach this brief?
Using the principals of inclusive design, you should develop a product that is designed to aid those with impairments whilst having a mainstream feel and appealing to a broad spectrum of users.
The institutional nature of many specialised products for the elderly should be avoided, both to widen their appeal and remove any stigma attached. What enables the elderly to use the product should lead to a better experience for all users.
This brief requires you to undertake primary research to really understand the needs of the people you are designing for. Observe, engage with and listen to them – what are their physical and emotional needs? What are the problems that exist with existing products? And what difference would your proposal make to their lives?
It also requires you to gain an understanding of how you clean different common floor surfaces found in the home, from carpets and tiles to vinyl and wood. What products already exist, and how is yours different? Do some market analysis, and highlight the unique points in your solution against other existing products/services in the competitive environment.
For the purposes of illustration only, viable responses could include:
- a floor cleaning device that is easy to use by those with age-related impairments
- a floor cleaning device that encourages regular and easy use and allows older people to keep their environments clean and hygienic
- a floor cleaning product that caters to the needs of an ageing population, but appeals to everyone in the spirit of true universal design
... and many more are possible.
Please note: this is an excerpt from the brief, for the full text and information, please download the brief.
There is one award available for this brief.
The Eureka Award of £3000
The judging panel may decide on more than one winner and will allocate the awards accordingly. In addition, the judging panel may award commendations.
August 2017 - Briefs launch online + registration opens
Mon 15 Jan 2018 - Competition opens for submissions
Wed 14 Feb 2018 - Deadline for ‘early bird’ submission by 4 pm GMT
Wed 14 March 2018 - Final deadline for submissions by 4 pm GMT
Wed 21 March 2018 -
2-stage judging begins
Tuesday 22 May 2018 - Winners announced
June 2018 - Awards Ceremony at the RSA